tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV June 10, 2017 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT
peter: hello and a warm welcome indeed to "quadriga," coming to you from the heart of berlin this week we're focusing on afghanistan, this after another shocking bombing in kabul t the 5 pepeople making it didliest attack in the capital since 2001. earlier there was a peace meeting in kabul but precious little came out of the gathering. the fear has to be that dark days are ahead for the people of afghanistan. so here on "quadriga" we ask,
afghanistan, is there really no way forward? i'm joined by three observers and analysts who all are very passionate about the future of afghanistan, beginning with mal malaiz daud, he says the security nosedive in afghanistan is due both to the withdrawal of international combat forces and to russia and iran joining forces with pakistan to support the taliban. so with us, d.w.'s own birgitta schulke, she had worked in afghanistan since someone and said the situation there has never been so bad. nd a warm welcome to susanne
-- koelbl from der spiegel. she said peace will only be possible if afghanistan's neighbors settle their issues. thank you once ger for being with me. malaiz i'd like to begin with you. we had a peace conference with afghanistan with no tangible results. i saw an interesting quote from after an -- from an afghan woman who said, we can survive but we can't live. does that sum up the fate of the afghan people at this point in time? malaiz: i think it depends. with two events in kabul and one a month ago where close to , there rs were killed is a certain dramatic escalation in violence but i can't say there are people who don't live there, to be honest. you have places that are intensely contested between the
taliban and the government, there's a lot of violence, but you have places like in the north which are relatively safe and people do live there. however, when it comes to this conference you talked about yesterday, it is one conference in a series of conferences. what happened was a few months ago, russians s decided to hold coconference between russia, china and pakistan, executing afghanistan and the u.s. that didn'n't really sit well with the afghan government. and they said we should have owner sthoich process. so then they negotiated and then this conference happened. but for the past almost 10 years we've had seven meetings and even a lot of covert meet wgs the taliban, both formal and informal with the government, without the presence of the government, with politicians from all sorts of political groups inside afghanistan. you de-- wrote
a book and described afghanistan as a beloved country but a dark country, would you say the mood is darker than ever now in afghanistan? susanne it is definitely dark because the hope vanish. this is the major thing we see right now, most likely what this lady has in mind when she aid we live -- we are alive. peter: alive but don't live. susanne what is lacking is a perspective, is the belief that this will go the right path that this will go forward. this is not what people say, it's much better in times, let's say from 2001 to 2005 and from then on it really -- really turned the other way. and they don't see that it's going anywhere. , mean, violence is rising
political stability is less, the president i is an intellectual who is an amazing mind but at the same time he doesn't really convince the people that he has -- he has -- he is pulling the strings. it's like he is he puppet, not the puppet but he's actually reacting on things which are imposed on him. so this is how people perceive it more or less. peter: you've been traveling to afghanistan for 15 years, since 2002, i believe. on your most recent visit regular porting for dw, what did you learn? birgitta: for me, it was very interesting to see how people in kabul live in this bad security situation. so it's a little bit like you see two sides. on the one side, there is this
sense of constant danger, so people told us several times, if i get out of the house in the morning, say good-bye to my family, i have no idea if i will come back alive. so this is in their head, constant fear. they are scared. on the other hand side they try to live a normal life. and still regain hope after each attack. it's diminishing, it's getting less, but they still try, try again, believe in their country. this was for me very interesting to see those -- both sides. peter: malaiz, how does this situation, this insecurity on a day-to-day basis impact your family members in afghanistan? what do they tell you? how co-they live with it? malaiz: one had an interview and said there's a certain level of tolerance for violence for afghans. we have been through a war for the past 40 years.
again, you develop your coping mechanisms. when i was down there, one of the things i would do, in the morning i would leave to the office quite early so i'm not stuck in the rush hour and then come home when rush hour was over in the evening. you develop coping mechanisms and hope nothing bad happens to you. peter: does that reflect your experience when you're actually in the country? do you have a sense of the situation, you've been going there for 15 years, that the situation has gotten worse in that time? birgitta: absolutely. when i started to go to afghanistan, we can sit outside in cafes, we could drive from kabul with a car. this is not possible anymore. e see fighting in 31 of 34 provinces. we are reduced in our possibility to reach out to people, to tell the stories we really want to tell.
so -- and we always have this -- also the sense, it can happen if you are wrong time, wrong place, it can happen to you as well. susanne i think the limits -- i think ed -- susanne: the limited movement shows exactly how we stand. it's the perimeter where you can see how secure it is. s the -- as she said, in the beginning you could drive from kandahar, it was a little scary, might be criminals could cross your way but there were no bombs, nothing like that. so now you have to think, where do i go? you do not even tell the driver where you go in advancece. and you do not leave the city without having a point of contact prepared at the gate,
when you leave the city. i mean you have to take safety measures w which you -- measurements which you have e n -- which you never did at that time. so it's definitely that the freedom of movement is so limited d and yes, it's very insecure. definitely. peter: despite the insecurity we have just been hearing about, since the end of last year, the german government has actually been organizing deportation flights carrying afghans who have been -- whose in cases for asylum here germany have been rejected, back to afghanistan. let's get a short idea of what that means for people deported from germany to afghanistan. > in kabul, he's afraid, isolated and lorenly. he was one of the first refugees to be deported back to afghanistan. he still has photos of the vocational school he attended
in germany he misses his german friends. now he's woworried about being killed by the taliban. >> the taliban murdered my father because he was a famous general. that's why i fled. if they find me they'll killll me. i'm m afraid. it's not safe here. >> it's too dangerous for him to go back to his home province and he doesn't have enough money to leave the couldn't reagain. he's trapped between germany and afghanistan, between the past and the future. will afghanistan ever be able to provide a safe and secure homeland for its people? peter: the policy of deportations from germany to afghanistan has been suspended temporarily but i fear it will go ahead. how can the german government justify sending people back to afghanistan given the level of violence we've been talking about? birgitta: they are justifying it by saying there are safe
places in afghanistan. i would say there are not because a place which is safe today might be a place of an attack tomorrow. and we met a will the of deportees who came back from germany and they feel highly insecure. they don't know the situation in kabul. they don't have work. they don't have a place to live. so they're really in the middle of nowhere. and it's not only the deportees from europe. afghanistan is overwhelmed with about more than 600,000 refugees who came back from pakistan and from iran. so they get very little help. and that's the situation and also aid organizations who try to help are absolutely overwhelmed with the situation. peter: what do you make of this policy, it's very controversial here in germany. malaiz: personally i'm against it. i don't think it should happen. i think it's to the benefit of
the german state in the future, these people could be productive for the german state. but when it comes to politics, politics is ruthless and in this country we have people who are against having the refugees who are going to make their voice count when it comes to ballot boxes. of course the politicians will make those kinds of decisions. when it comes to our government, to be honest, our state has done a lot, they're making every single effort to make sure the country becomes secure but they are failing to some extent, that's understandable. the 600,000 refugees that have come back are forced out of pakistan. again, the government has been trying to devise plans and then get the funding to make sure that these people are reintegrated. one of the debates that is going on in afghanistan is that if the refugees come back from pakistan, with the level of violence because the afghans will not be able to be trained in pakistan by whatever forces
and then come back and fight here. so on a personal level because i enjoy living here and i think the price of living in a free society like this one are way more than you can do there but of course politics is what is driving everything in this country. peter: when you talk about politics, given the level of violence we're talking about, has not the time come for the international community to admit that all its efforts have been in vain and that the project of bringing peace to afghanistan is simply a failure. malaiz: all would be harsh. it's not all in vain. i'll give you an example. students 0 afghan have been trained in germany and hold bachelors dregs, master's degrees and even ph.d.'s. thousands of afghan students like myself have gone out, studieding come back, some are in the western countries, doing valuable things. so that would be harsh.
but i think we needd to go back to the goal they set in the beginning. at the beginning they said, we only want to deal with the terrorism in that country. it was counterterrorism, then nation build, state building, so counter insurgency and then counterterrorism. if you're dealing only with counterterrorism and actually you forgot the country in favor of iraq for some time, this was bound to happen. but the problem that people ok at it only as intervention, not what the afghans do there. in our history, i don't remember this expansive policy that we have today in afghanistan. different groups coming together, to be part of this. that had never happened in our history before. you either had one powerfulful group dominating politics or you had civil wars and violence between the different groups.
-- : susanne do you, troo too have a positive narrative for us? susanne i have seen good and bad things in this country over the course of time. certainly saw a lot of progress, especially young people who formerly lived in a completely isolated place and then connected with the world and i saw people, myself, i worked with, who never spoke english before, never knew how to use a computer or something and they picked it up to quickly and made their way. they found this -- founded companies. amazing stories happen definitely. but this is happening at the same time as the political issues are not settled. and this is why it's a parallel universe that pem live in there. malaiz: the problem, even the
terminology is very problematic. for example, as a political scientist, state building, that's problematic. no bun builds -- no one builds a state for you. we talk about state formation. look at the path of state formation in western country, the u.s. and europe took a very long time. and particularly in the sense of modern state to be able to have monopoly of violence in a country it will take a long time. so we have to put things into perspective. peter: we're at an important juncture in afghanistan, esident trump is reviewing policy in afghanistan, he would favor withdrawing troops from afghanistan. would that be a good idea? susanne not at all. to withdraw -- birgitta: no, to withdraw all the troops would make the taliban stronger, they would gain territory for sure. even worse would be if the
government would withdraw their funding because about 70% of the afghan budget is from international sources. so -- and we saw in the 1990's what can happen if all the help is withdrawn. the government collapsed. we had civil war which brought the taliban later on. i think it was absolutely, it would be a catastrophe if the international community would tep out in this radical way. peter: trump said before, when he was elected, he said this is a decision his defense department and state department have to make. and what we get from that is at the military says we need more american trainer and then of course the coalition partners also pledge some more troops. and just recently, two or three
the secretary of state said taliban are fighting against the civilized world. the narrative has changed from what the obama administration asked for, they were going to go and fought on. and the defense secretary said the same thing. from his previous experience, general mattis is saying there's no way you can enter political talks with the taliban, you have to fight them. one other thing, to put everything into perspective. if you look at the region from me middle east to china and west in general, the only country you see where despite intervention the u.s. and the world still does really well is afghanistan. so that's the last outpost you have left there. and if you lose that, then what happened in manchester, in
london, that will even increase. peter: is it time to talk to the taliban? this is a strategy that's been much muted at this point in time. susanne: governments talk to the taliban all the time. i remember once i did a profile on president karzai at the time, 2006 or 2007, so i spent a couple of days with him. the taliban, high level taliban, has been visiting him all the time. so contact is there. that's not the issue. and i think there could be a settlement with the taliban. but the political issue is bigger. so it's not only about the taliban and the government. that could be settled, possibly. no, it's a regional conflict which cannot be ignored. and the taliban cannot act
independently. they are dependent on -- and supported by the neighbors. and so you have to take in account what their interests are. peter: at the peace conference earlier this week, the president said the afghan people will be victims of bloodshed but will survive they will fight on that kind of spirit, we've got three examples of that spirit. let's have a look at that. >> we are tired of war. that's why i wanted to do something different. something cool. i love riding bikes and want to inspire others. i also want to do something to promote general equality in -- gender equality in afghanistan. >> this is our country. we have to rebuild it. nobody is going to do it for us. maybe i'll go and study abroad for a while but i'll come back straight away to support women in afghanistan with what i've
learned. >> we don't want to have thehe symbol of wars anymore in our country. you see ant everyday these things, so we restore it to show that war has fin herbed, nothing should remain from the war. wewe are going fororward. and rebuilding is going to appen. peter: that last woman, a remarkable woman, tell us a little bit more about her and her story. birgitta: she's an architect, helping to restore the old king's palace, and the palace is a little bit sort of, can we say symbol of war. it's absolutely destroyed from 40 years of war. but it never collapsed and this
is a little bit how people see it. it's like afghanistan. it's -- destroyed but it hasn't collapsed and this is how -- the hope they have. but on the other hand side if you say we want to show there's peace, the whole reconstruction is taking place behind huge walls for security. and high security. so this already shows, she ies to keep the hope but she told me in the car later on she has experienced three times, blasts very close to her. and she said after that, i'm always so afraid when only cars are approaching me. but then she said again, but we have to live, we have to go on. so she tries to cope. peter: give us a word on how important women are for the future of afghanistan, how important they can be.
susanne: women have always kept the society together. at the end of the day, the men are out, fight, the women are keeping the families together and raising the kids and everything. and they're very strong. it's not that they are really weak and we have to say we have a complete new generation of women whoo can speak other languages, who are trained, who go to university, or went to university, and even the security is getting worse now, this doesn't go away. it's a new consciousness about what life could be, we are not isolated any longer. what possibilities there are in life. and you have a lot of media. you have newspapers. you have everything. and you have role models which show this is possible. why should i not be one of those women in the future? so -- and this will stay. it will not go away. i don't know exactly what they'll make out of it. but there's a change.
peter: the -- peter: the man to your left has been nodding. malaiz: very interesting c commander or -- he's o was recently -- -- of putting attacking women's faces when he was in school. when he was reconciled, his wife was there, his dadaughter was there. he has gone from that kind of person to defying the role of women in public. the reason is he can see women can do a lot of good things when they're in public and second he he cannot go against the way things have changed. women have a place now in the society. bush ing the second afghan war, the afghan forces
were defeated in maiwand, and there was a woman who came up and theek flag and she led the forces. so we have those kinds of stories in the history too. peter: we're drawing to the close of our discussion. where will afghanistan be in five years' time? birgitta: i think they will still struggle. i think the conflicict will not be solved by then. but i very hope, very much hope for the country that they still work on a political solution. susanne: it completely depends on what america and china decide. malaiz: i think we'll muddle through, but we'll survive. peter: ok. we've been discussing the fupe of afghanistan. we hope it is a happy future. time alone will tell. thanks for joining us here on "quadriga" this week. bye-bye.
♪ michelle: a very warm welcome to "fokus on europe." glad you could join us. in some european countries, euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal. while critics equate these practices with murder, a belgian paralympian, who suffers from a painful, degenerative disease, fights for people to have the right to choose when they want to die. marieke: if i hadn't got those papers, i'd already, a long time ago, suicide. michelle: more on her story is coming up later in the program. hopes were high a decade ago that democracy had been embraced by the former communist republic